Flexible Offshore Drone for Wind – FOD4Wind

The challenge:

To ensure that offshore wind turbines continuously run optimally, they are subject to a very well-defined service program, where preventive maintenance is carried out by skilled technicians. Most of the wind farms that are far from land or a suitable service port are served by SOV vessels, which are large but efficient service vessels. The crew of the SOVs can typically perform full service on more than one turbine per day with a range of tools and spare parts already on board the vessel. During this service, technicians do what they can, but they are limited by the physics of moving back and forth, up and down, carrying tools and hoisting spare parts, etc.

The solution:

There is great potential to improve service by cutting corners with new technology. This innovation project will focus on fully autonomous wind turbine inspection and parcel deliveries e.g., tools using drones and fixed charging stations on offshore service vessels. The project introduces an unseen level of autonomy and speed that will optimize the O&M costs of servicing offshore wind turbines.

As the name Flexible Offshore Drone for Wind also indicates, the plan with the drone is that it is “flexible” and thus can be used in several ways. It will function as a small offshore helicopter, which in addition to parcel delivery and inspection of offshore wind turbines will also be able to participate in rescue operations and in the long term have several other functions.

As the drones can be used for several different purposes, it will be possible to reduce navigation to the offshore wind turbines and thus reduce both the costs and CO2 emissions associated with the maintenance of the wind farms.

The effect:

All effects are in 2030 and based on 70 installed charging stations with drones:

  • Reduced downtime of 12,250 hours
  • Reduced CO2 by 13,000 tons per year
  • Energy production increased by 39,200 MWh per year
  • Reduced service costs by DKK 424,000 million per year
  • Increased employment of 180 employees


Problem owners:

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

Problem solvers:



Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

University of Southern Denmark

Related projects:


Drone Control

Press clippings:

Maritime: Drones to deliver gear offshore

Energy Watch: Danish drones to make service on offshore wind turbines greener, cheaper and faster



“Today, equipment is sailed to the individual turbine with a so-called service operation vessel. What we want in the fod4Wind project is to replace that sailing with drone flights from larger ships from Esvagt, so as to save trips around the wind farm. The drone must be able to fly fully automatically from one of Esvagt’s ships up to the offshore wind turbine nacelle, on which there is a landing site. Here, the drone can then sell the tools it flies with.” – Benjamin Meinertz, partner in Upteko.

“We started looking at the use of drones in 2016, and our business case is positive – both in terms of deliveries and perhaps also inspection of offshore wind turbines. We see great potential in having drones on service ships permanently. We constantly focus on making things smarter, and by using drones to maintain our wind turbines, we can reduce both our costs and our environmental footprint.” – Lars Holm Nielsen, Head of R&D service operations at Siemens Gamesa.

“As the leading provider of SOV ships in Europe, we are very focused on offering new services to our customers. Our focus is always safety first and therefore we attach great importance to the conditions surrounding the solutions that the project delivers. It must be safe to operate the drone offshore.” – Nils Overgaard, Head of Special Projects, ESVAGT.

Project timeline

PHASE 1: Conceptualization

PHASE 2: Development and Testing

PHASE 3: Demonstration and Validation

PHASE 4: Commercialization

Financed by


Start: January 2022
End: December 2024

Total budget: DKK 17.51 mio.
EUDP funding: DKK 9.96 mio.

Contact person

Anne Bjerre Hammer

Anne Bjerre Hammer
Project Manager
Tlf: +45 3152 4810